A SOLICITOR has been chosen as Labour’s candidate for Middlesbrough to replace the late Sir Stuart Bell.

Andy McDonald, who lives in Linthorpe with his wife Sally and their children, was born in Acklam and currently works as a solicitor for Thompsons, which specialises in trade union cases, in Middlesbrough.

A political hustings and selection meeting was held yesterday to vote in the new Labour candidate.

After the meeting Mr McDonald said: “I am honoured and humbled to represent Labour in my home town.

“As a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred, I am proud of the town and I want to play my part in building a prosperous future for the area.”

Mr McDonald is a former Middlesbrough councillor, chair of the party’s Local Government Committee and governor of Middlesbrough College. He has previously been a governor of Abingdon Primary School in Middlesbrough and was chair of the Davison Trust in Middlesbrough, a charity devoted to helping children with special needs and their families.

He is also the current chair of the Teesside branch of Headway, the charity which helps people with brain injuries and their carers.

In 2010 he was shortlisted as Labour candidate for the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seat, losing out to Tom Blenkinsop.

He said: “There is a real jobs crisis on Teesside. Too many of our young people are being left without a future and families are really struggling with the cost of living. The fight for jobs will be a priority for me. This Tory-led government is completely out of touch with the lives of people here in Middlesbrough. Their economic policies are causing real pain.

“Over the next few weeks I will be campaigning in every part of the town, listening to local people and also talking with them about how I can bring real change to Middlesbrough. The campaign starts now. I can’t wait to get started.

Julie Elliott MP, Labour’s Middlesbrough by-election campaign manager, said: “In Andy we have a candidate who knows and understands Middlesbrough and the challenges the town faces. Throughout his career he has stood up for working people and for the town he loves.”